Seven displaced by fire in Lowell’s Acre neighborhood

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LOWELL — A firefighter suffered minor injuries and seven people were displaced due to a fire inside a multifamily home in the city’s Acre neighborhood on Sunday.

The cause of the blaze at 34 Willie St. remains under investigation, Lowell Fire Deputy Chief Tim Casey said from the scene. He added a preliminary investigation suggests the fire started on the outside of the structure.

A working fire at the home was reported over the emergency radio broadcast about 5:20 p.m. According to Casey, the three-story building includes one apartment unit on each floor. The first floor was unoccupied, as it is being remodeled.

A resident of 34 Willie St. in Lowell talks to a firefighter outside the damaged three-unit apartment building on Sunday. AARON CURTIS/LOWELL SUN

All tenants and their pets were able to escape the building uninjured, Casey said. An initial report of children possibly stuck inside the apartment building when the fire broke out was found to be inaccurate.

“Our crews did a primary search and a secondary search and found that everyone was able to get out of the building,” Casey said. “The firefighters did a great job stopping the fire, and keeping it from spreading.”

A firefighter was taken to an area hospital after suffering minor injuries from a fall while battling the blaze. Casey described the firefighter’s injuries as “bumps and bruises” and predicted his stay at the hospital would be short.

Casey said the fire caused significant damage to all three units but the damage is repairable. He added all seven building occupants were displaced due to the damage.

Lowell firefighters take a break and grab some water after battling a blaze that broke out at 34 Willie St. on Sunday. AARON CURTIS/LOWELL SUN

One resident of the building, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was out with her children when she received a call from her landlord about the fire. She immediately thought of her pets — four French bulldogs and a cat — which were at home and alone inside her apartment.

The anonymous tenant said she quickly called her sister, who lives nearby. The sister rushed over to the apartment building to retrieve the pets, but found the animals had already been rescued from the building.

“A stranger went in there and got my dogs, brought them outside and put them on the sidewalk,” the Willie Steet resident said. “I wish I knew who it was, because then I could thank them.”

The seven displaced residents will receive assistance, including shelter.

Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis

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